Do I own the 1300 or 1800 Number?

When a business looks to activate a 1300 or 1800 number, it is imperative that they keep ownership of the number. It is an integral part of their brand and must be available to them for the life of the business, A loss of the number may be extremely detrimental if you consider the difficulty business owners would face to attempt to introduce a new number to their customer base.

This is even more the case, if you consider the advent of the Phoneword, eg 1300 MY COMPANY. These phone numbers (phonewords) become almost the same as a domain name or business name. Losing it would mean certain problems.

With that in mind, the ownership of the 1300 or 1800 number is dictated by the path which is taken to acquire the number. There are basically 3 ways that a business can purchase or acquire the number;

Choose from a Public List
Every Telco in Australia has access to a FREE list of numbers. By free, we mean, they are free of any capital cost so the business will not be up for a “purchase” cost to choose one of these numbers from the public available list. There are in excess of 3000 of each type of number to choose from, and they are constantly being renewed so the choice is huge.

The downside: the good numbers will not be in this list. By good numbers we mean, numbers with double or triple digits in it or indeed numbers that spell words.

Ownership: if a business chooses a number from this Public 1300 Number List list, they will always own the number as long as they keep the number active and do not default with the carrier. A default may cause the number to be lost.

Purchase a number from Smartnumbers
If the number they want is not available in the free list, then they will need to buy the number from the, government run, auction system called smartnumbers.com.au. These numbers come at a cost, namely the auction price. Reserve prices start at $250.

The downside: You can get what you want but at a capital cost and, alot of the possible numbers have already been purchased.

Ownership: Yes, if you buy the number, you own the number as long as you connect the number within 3 years from smartnumbers.com.au. In this case, even if you default with your carrier, you will still keep the ownership because a cancellation by a carrier will simply return the number back to smartnumbers and will remain, owned by you ready to reactivate.

Lease the number
If the 1300 or 1800 number has already been purchased, then your only option is to lease the number of the owner of the number. The price can range dramatically depending on the number you are looking to lease.

The downside: You may pay a much higher monthly fee then normal, simply to have access to the number.

Ownership: NO, in this situation you will NOT own the number. It is owned by the purchaser of the number and the business owner is simply leasing it. It is in the best interests of the owner to keep you having access to the number but there is no guarantee.

Routing Options for 1300 and 1800 Numbers

How Can 1300 and 1800 numbers be routed?

A very informative article was written by the director of Ozetel Pty Ltd that will help that question be answered. We have included it for our readers. It is a very descriptive point point by discussion on all things to do with routing and configurations on 1300 and 1800 numbers. Enjoy!

“We have had quite a few enquiries this month from clients asking what types of routing are available on 1300 numbers in Australia.

So I thought I would detail the information here. The first note by the way also is that all of these configurations can be applied to the 1800 number as well. There is no difference between the routing availability on 1300 or 1800 numbers.

Single Answer Point
So the first option, and of course the most common, is to land your number to a single phone number. That can be a land line, VoIP line or a mobile phone line. The rule generally is, if you can ring the number directly then it can also be an answer point for a 1300 or 1800 number.

Overflow Routing
You can choose to overflow your number to additional numbers. You would choose a primary answer point (as mentioned above in the Single Answer Point option) and then also advise of additional numbers to land to in the event that the primary number is busy or is not answered. For example you may terminate calls to your business land line first and then overflow to your mobile phone on busy or no answer after 15 seconds. Thus if you go out of the office, you will still receive your business calls. Of course you may also have 2 or 3 land lines in the office and you could overflow through those first so that different team members could take calls when times get busy. The multiple of overflows is unlimited but you would want to consider the callers experience and have them looked after as quick as possible.

Time Of Day
This option is very effective for landing calls to different numbers during hours and after hours. Often our customers at Ozetel will land their 1300 number calls to the office during business hours and then to their mobile phone or live answer service after hours. The routing is pretty much unrestricted in that you could choose an answer point for every minute of the day if you wished!

Public Holiday Routing
We can even highlight public holidays and have your number land to special numbers for each holiday. Very useful if you are going away on a particular day.

Call Percentage Splaying
This basically means landing calls to different numbers based on a percentage set in our network. Often this is coupled with the time of day routing so that between 9am and 5pm for example, we could land 90% of calls to your Melbourne office (where the bulk of your staff work) and the remaining 10% of calls to your Sydney office. Any percentage can be set and again, as many numbers that you require to include in the splaying.

Barring Calls
There are a multitude of barring possibilities including;
– all mobile phone callers,
– callers from a specific state or region,
– specific phone numbers that are considered nuisance calls.

State Based Routing
A business can choose to have each state or territory in Australia routed to it’s own answer point – so if you have offices in each state of Australia and want only callers from that state landing to the right office, this is achievable. This of course is done for both incoming mobile and incoming fixed line callers.

Regional Routing
There are approximtaely 200 mobile phone regions covering all of Australia (for incoming calls on a mobile) that can each have their own answer point. There are far more fixed line (incoming call) regions but again, all of these set regions can have it’s own answer point for your 1300 or 1800 number.

Telstra Exchange Routing
There are thousands of Telstra Exchanges around Australia and a business can choose to have every exchange land to it’s own answer point. It is a massive routing table but very effective when you want to deliver calls to a high number of offices around Australia. The downside is this is only for incoming calls on a fixed line and the default setting for incoming mobile callers is to have just one single number for ALL mobile calls. Clients using this option will often use the Ozetel Postcode Prompter service as the default number for incoming mobile phone callers. This refines the deliver of calls and creates a much more efficient system.

Delivery By Postcode
This isn’t technically routing on the 1300 number network but Ozetel has an additional service called the Postcode Prompter service. Larger businesses, (and specifically franchises), can land their 1300 or 1800 number to the Postcode Prompter indial phone number so that all calls land to this service. Callers are then asked to enter the most relevant postcode for them and then they are landed to the most appropriate store or office, as advised by the business owner.

The final point to keep in mind is that combinations of these options can be used depending on the requirements of the business model. It really is an unlimited situation and often we will have different configurations for the same business as they grow in their industry. There are more services that Ozetel offers (similar to the Postcode Prompter) such as the IVR Menu, Fax to Email, Live Answer services but we have not mentioned those in this article. The Postcode Prompter was included because it was relevant to this discussion.

As you can see, the 1300 and 1800 number has powerful routing capabilities and fits to all business sizes from the small private company to the multinational corporation.”

Original Source: Anthonys Blog

The History of The Phoneword Part 2

Back on the 17th of August we submitted the first article on the history of the Phoneword or 1300 1800 number that spells a word. For example, 1300 OZETEL (693 835). We explained how the phoneword industry came about in Australia, basically following the United States of America’s system and processes. It is an extremely big business here in Australia and the cost of acquiring can be very high depending on what number a business is looking to purchase – 13 CABS was sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars!

There are thousands of phonewords used in Australian business in current day and many of those businesses have experienced a huge growth in call flow because of the ease of remembering these types of business phone numbers. They can be a wonderful addition to the branding of large companies like Harvey Norman, who incorporate 1300 GO HARVEY into their marketing. When you consider the large spend that a company like Harvey’s would have on marketing nationally, it is a natural move to a cost effective phone number that can save on large advertising budgets.

So, we saw that there is also a public list (a free list of numbers having no capital cost) available to used to choose a number. If the number a business is after is not in that free list then the business owner would need to go to the smartnumbers auction process to buy their number.

Companies like Ozetel Telecommunications in Brisbane, can assist with that auction process free of charge if you are connecting the number with them. You would simply be asked to pay the auction price up front and be available on auction day in case others bid against you in the public auction.

But Someone Has Bought The Number
However, if that number has already been purchased by one of the many phoneword companies in Australia, you have no choice other then leasing the number of that company (assuming you must have that specific number). The leasing arrangement changes the game somewhat because;

– the cost will be expensive in many cases (lease usually start from $100 a month and may extend to $1000’s). This of course is an additional cost to the usual monthly fee and call costs that a business will pay to the telco that the number is activated with,
– the business owner never has official ownership of the number and this can be dangerous.

So it is an important choice to weigh up whether, as a business owner, you want the number badly enough.

You Need To Activate Your Number
Often companies will buy the phoneword to ensure no one else gets access to the asset that they want to keep safeguarded. The number may not actually be needed and thus may not be activated immediately. It is important to remember that the phoneword must be activated with a telecommunications company within 3 years to avoid the auction system taking back the number. If this happens of course, the business owner will be forced to pay a capital cost again for the same number – and run the risk of someone else taking their asset.

The History of The Phoneword.

In the late 90’s Australian businessmen went to the USA to review the phoneword industry sweeping over the country and creating a big buzz in the business arena. It had been established in the USA for many years and had been adding value to the marketing push of countless entities. The telecommunications head honchos like John Singleton were standing up and taking notice of the effects of having the ability to spell out a word with a phone number. It was a completely new and exciting idea for the Australia business and telecommunications market and one these leading entrepreneurs wanted a BIG part of!

So what is the concept basically?
If you consider the name of a business, let us say WESTPAC for example. We would simply match each letter of the name (WESTPAC) to the corresponding number on the telephone keypad and create the 1300 number from that. SO, the 1300 or 1800 number for WESTPAC would be 1300 937 872 (2). Now, we have left the last digit off for a reason and will explain this a later in the discussion. But firstly, if we look at the number versus the word, simply put, which one is easier to remember?

1300 WESTPAC Versus 1300 937 872

Testing of Phone Words v phone numbers in TV and radio advertisements have been carried out by the leading phoneword companies in Australia and show that;

• On average, the ads with phone words generated nearly three times more calls than the ads with phone numbers: a 290% increase in response rates.

These result mirrored similar case studies from the USA and UK.

And so the dream began so to speak, it was obvious that this was a niche market for those that could pull it off. And there was a lot of work to do. Would the consumer market in Australia accept the text to number (alphanumeric) dialing like the USA and UK? Would businesses in Australia trust and believe in the concept?

And one of the biggest hurdles – in Australia we were unable to “overdial” a telephone number. A 1300 number has it’s prefix (1300) and then 6 numbers following it, or for the 13 number of course, 4 numbers follow the prefix of 13. Words for businesses or generic words were always going to be longer the 4 or 6 letters and so Australia was going to need to introduce the ability to dial excess numbers when making a call to a 1300 or 1800 number – over dialing. The WESTPAC example above has 7 letters (numbers) and so a caller would enter an extra digit when dialing. As the networks stood (especially mobile phone networks), this would not work. Callers would simply get a fault signal or a beeping sound indicating a network error.

The powers that be (and they had some power), lobbied to ensure this issue was solved. All fixed line networks and mobile phone line carriers were made to develop their networks to ensure people dialing phonewords could over dial to accomodate long words. The limit was 10 letters in total after the prefix but there is a push to extend this even further.

And so to bring it to the current day, we have in excess of 10000 words purchase by the multitude of phoneword companies that have set up over the last 10 years. Of course the biggest of those is Telstra backed, 1300 AUSTRALIA. Numbers had to be purchased at the government auction system known as smartnumbers, administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and ranged from a minimum $500 to hundreds of 1000’s of dollars depending on the premium nature of the phoneword. In mid 2012 the reserve price was reduced to $250 but this still is a difficult entry point for small business owners considering the ability to get numbers for free (no purchase cost that is) if chosen from the Public Available List held by telcos in Australia.

Well that is part one. There is much more in this saga and indeed much more as the industry continues to grow and develop. Keep an eye out for more.

Don’t Forget Telecommunications!

Telecommunications allows information to be shared over significant distances, between two or several parties.  Multiple transmitting and receiving on a larger scale can be achieved through a telecommunications network, the largest being the Internet.  The importance of telecommunications to business is therefore paramount and any new business can not underestimate the power of telecommunications for the success of their business.

Types of Telecommunications

Any new business must consider what telecommunications can do for them and how best to tailor it to their individual purposes.  Telecommunications allows businesses to connect with customers, support staff and colleagues and the speed and efficiency of the equipment, devices and networks available is a vital consideration.

–    Telephone and Fax
–    The Internet
–    Service Providers and Packaging

Telephone and Fax

This mode of business telecommunications is widely used and viable, particularly for businesses that operate on a primarily local basis.  With new technologies constantly evolving it is still highly relevant and provides a cost effective option for many businesses.  The three basic types of phone systems most widely used are PBX (Private Branch exchange) for medium to large size business, KSU (Key System Unit) for small to medium sized businesses, and KSU-Less Systems for businesses with less than 10 employees. An important addition to this is the use of 1300 Numbers to enhance the business’ customer perception and measuring capabilities of marketing and incoming call flow.

The Internet

The Internet’s contribution to business telecommunications can be seen in its usage as a research tool, emailing and instant messaging.  It has also facilitated the development of new technologies such as VoIP (a phone service via the Internet), that provides a less expensive option than the standard phone service, particularly over long distance.  Skype has been the forerunner of this technology, allowing communication all over the world.  This further highlights the advantages for businesses that outsource workers overseas through services such as oDesk and Elance.

Service Providers and Packaging

The three main telecommunications companies in Australia are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, offering Landline, Inbound Numbers, Mobile and Broadband services or a combination of these.  Increasing numbers of Mobile service providers have also emerged creating a price war between providers that is good news for the consumer and any new business trying to minimize costs.  Similarly, increasing numbers of ISP providers are emerging with three of Australia’s top providers being Internode, iiNet and TPG.  To compare competitiveness of the various plans (Whirlpool.net.au) is Australia’s largest Broadband forum, listing all ISP’s and their plans.

But of course, business owners are not tied to these major players anymore. The was a fear of moving away from these tier 1 carriers but that is no longer an issue. Small business owners can safely employ smaller carriers that have security and efficiency like Ozetel Pty Ltd.

Packaging is therefore an important consideration for any new business as it allows the option to customize the telecommunications requirements to the individual business.  Bundling services with one provider may be more equitable for the individual business’s purposes or obtaining different services from competing providers may be the best way of minimizing costs.   By researching what packages are offered by providers, businesses can save valuable dollars in a competitive market.  Bundling phone, fax and Internet services can often be more affordable as well as reviewing local and long distance communication requirements before selecting a suitable package.

Of course, the new business entrepeneur should consider the elements of business that are imperative and enforced by government entities such as ASIC and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Original Source: Anthony’s Blog, A site for business and life.